How often do you (or SO) talk to the ex?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
How often do you (or SO) talk to the ex?
12
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 6:17pm
Hi guys! This is my first post on the new board!

I have a question - how often do you or your SO talk to the ex in a week, to coordinate on kid things? And if, like me, you have not been married before and have no ex that you necessarily need (or want) to talk to on a regular basis, how does it make you feel?

I mean, I know things "come up" that warrant discussion, but sometimes, for example, the ex will call and chat with my bf about how her son (who is 9) is doing, what he did that day, what he ate, etc. instead of talking to her son and asking him herself. She will talk to the son after her little "pow wow" with my bf, but usually it's pretty brief. Does that seem odd to anyone else? Or is it just me?

Also, sometimes she'll call and talk about the DUMBEST things...like the "schedule". It's the SAME schedule, week after week, even I know it by heart (and heck, if I didn't, we made an excel spreadsheet of it for everyone, so she can just look it up if she has a question). It just seems totally unnecessary for her to call all the time. I would understand calling to talk to her son, but all this other stuff just seems unnecessary to me, and frankly, it kind of upsets me. But what do you guys think?

Should I even talk to my bf about it? Is there a compromise I should suggest? Or is it just one of those things I have to accept. And if so, what are some coping strategies?

Thanks!

Christina

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Avatar for just_chris633
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 6:29pm
Wish I could give yo a bit of advice on this one, Christina. Even though I've been married 4 times (1st before DS) and had a committed relationship with my son's father, I've pretty much been inhte single parent role. I didn't have to do much about contacting the ex. By the time I left my 3rd dh (DS's Dad but not bio-father) DS was old enough to make the contact himself. We communicated as was necessary when DS was going out to spend the weekend with Dad about who would do the picking up and dropping off and that'd be about it. There wasn't a lot of unnecessary communication going on with me and any of the exes in my life.

XDH #4 is still my SO even though we are no longer married in the eyes of the court.

~Chris~

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 6:30pm
P.S. Sometimes, she'll call him during the day too, when he's at work. The only reason I know about it, is because he's mentioned those times on occassion...and mentioned whatever issue it was about. But you'd think she would want to wait until the evening, when her son is around, so she could talk to him. Why call him at work? You know?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 12:38pm
I so know how you feel,but sorry I have no good advice for you. I've been married before and my ex and I don't speak that much unless there's something major going on that needs to be arranged. Our kids are 10 & 13 and are old enough for him to talk to about visits. My husband on the other hand...that's a different story. His kids are 17 & 14 yet his ex still calls him for everything AND she only calls him at work. Is it because they can talk more freely to each other without me in earshot? I don't always know when she calls,he doesn't tell me unless it's about some major plan that affects us. His 17 year old drives now so that has helped alot...he can drive them to their mom's house instead of my husband having to meet her half way (to make it easier for her)so they don't have to talk about that anymore. Still, she plans these visits with their son because he's the one driving and it's his schedule that affects their visits, yet she still has to call my husband to discuss everything. She calls him at least a couple of times a week...and there isn't that much going on with the kids! I know it's a good thing for them both to be involved in their kids lives/plans, but I think it's just a reason to talk to him. They have remained "friends" and talk about things other than the kids. My husband talks to her too...I'm sure she knows alot more about our life than I'd like her to. Anyway, I don't have any great advice, it's one of those things I think we just have to accept as much as we dislike it, but at least I can tell you you're not alone. Good Luck!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 2:27pm
Hi Christina,

You've been asking this question for close on a year now and I get the feeling that you either have not seriously confronted BF (as in "change or I'm leaving) or you really cannot handle this particular relationship. Since this has been going on for far too long in your eyes, it's time for you to either put up or shut up. Tell your BF that 99% of divorced parents keep the conversations to a minimum and speak directly to the child as often as possible. He is not normal and he needs to know that you think he is not normal. He needs to decide whether to take on your belief as his or not.

In my honest opinion, I think that you have been with him long enough to tell him that you will put the relationship on hold if he doesn't stop the chit-chatting with the ex. Tell him it takes away from the time available for the two of you to chit-chat. Tell him it makes you feel uncomfortable because it gives the ex a chance to butt-in into your relationship and co-parenting is not the same as chit-chatting. Seriously though, give him an ultimatum, if you still have not found a slow and gradual approach to changing his habit. Also, ask him if talking to her on a daily basis was so bad before, then why not get back together with now? You need a man who will WANT to build a foundation with you while still maintain his responsibilities as a father. Also let him know that while civil communication between exes is great for the child, chit-chatting will only confuse the child and make the child believe that his parents can get back together again in the future.

Just be prepared if BF says that he sees nothing wrong with his behaviour and that he does not want to change. Tell him he has a week to prove to you that his behaviour won't hurt his child in the long run. Then get ready to pack up and separate. You shouldn't accept behaviour that is changeable and won't hurt anyone if it changes, but will make you happy. If BF cannot see how selfish he is being, then you don't want to spend the rest of your life with someone like that. BTW, it's also a loyalty issue and if you haven't been able to get past this problem, by now, I would say that this man just can't give you what you want and need. When practicing "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" it's supposed to be for the things that you have no power to change (like the fact that there is an ex) and the things that happen repeatedly (like having to talk to the ex about schedules and the child). Chit-chatting is a personal preference item and your BF can't accommodate you, then what other simple things will he not compromise on?

Good luck... I think it's time you put your foot down and seriously review the viability of this relationship. It just doesn't sound to me like you will be happy in the long run.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 4:15pm
Sweety,

Okay, you sound like you understand EXACTLY what I'm saying, and yet, you seem to be at a "good place" with it. You're not all worked up over it (or don't seem to be, at least - haha). So, how did you get there? Do you just not think about it? Do you have a way of looking at it so it doesn't affect you? How do I get comfortable about this situation?

Thanks!

Christina

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 4:34pm
Christina!

Hi! I was hoping to hear from you! Your advice is always so insightful.

Here's the deal, however - I HAVE put my foot down about the non-kid-related-chatter. He HAS agreed that it was unnecessary and that he could stop that. And to his defense, he has.

He maintains however, that he can not cut off communication entirely, because they need to coordinate on "kid issues", which I'll give him (I'm sure we all would agree). But my issue now is, does it have to be EXCESSIVE? Like I said, how many phone calls does it take to coordinate Easter? Does she REALLY have to call and let him know, she HASN'T talked to her family yet to figure out what their plans are and that she'll call him when she does? Can't she just call him when she DOES talk to them and let him know what the plans are? You know?

Or maybe it's a matter of perspective and what I'm viewing as EXCESSIVE isn't really? That's why I asked here...because I know if anyone would know, you ladies would.

From the 2 responses I have gotten so far, it seems that many of you DON'T coordinate THAT much with the ex's on KID RELATED issues.

And even if it is deemed excessive (by board concensus), what would I ask of my bf?

How would you guys suggest he handle this with the ex? I mean, how do you even WORD a conversation like that?





Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 10:38pm
Hi there, I responded to you when you posted about this a few months ago and made some suggestions about accepting that your SO and his ex are friends. Are you just bound and determined not to accept it? I'm not asking to be harsh but to try to understand where you're coming from. It seems to me that if you can't accept it, you need to reconsider being in the relationship.

Sheri

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 10:51am
I think the "how was the day" conversation can be held directly with the child - at 9, he is certainly old enough to talk about his day and what he ate. I think I would address it from the viewpoint of the child, however, and not that it is annoying to you. Suggest that conversations that directly relate to the child actually be held with the child, so that he can feel more connected to his mother. Neither my husband nor I have daily contact with the ex. If my husband wants to know how the girls are doing, he calls them and asks them directly. If it is regarding scheduling, they usually stick to e-mail since we are long-distance and it costs to talk on the phone. (Plus they prefer e-mail to directly talking, anyway - you know, that "ex" thing.) My ex and I don't speak at all - which is not the preferred way, either - our relationship is rather toxic. However, I think that daily chit-chat is not healthy, either - the ex may perceive this as still having a relationship, particularly if there are lingering feelings. Getting along for the sake of the children is important, but I don't believe that is necessary on a daily basis.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 3:41pm
Well, I've never been fond of boyfriends who maintain relationships with ex's in the past (all ex's not just wives). To me, it just doesn't make sense and it feels like a violation of OUR relationship on some level. To me, if there was something so special about a relationship that you feel like you need to keep hanging on, you should've stayed and worked things out. So I guess, the reason it makes me feel like my relationship is violated is because if the person I'm involved with still has something "special" with someone else, then it kinda takes away from the "specialness" of OUR relationship.

Of course, this opinion of mine is all based on how I HANDLE breakups. If I'm at the point where I actually want to break up, it's because there IS nothing special to hang on to any longer and I'm fully, ready to move on. Granted, I've never broken up with anyone I've been MARRIED to (just dating and engaged to), so I'm maybe that's a whole other realm that I am not comprehending maybe?

So that's my logic, and the reason it makes me uncomfortable.

Why did I get involved with my bf then? Well, because I didn't know the extent of his involvement with his ex. We started off slowly, I tried to keep a little distance from him because of his situation. I was very cautious. So I didn't get to SEE or experience the daily calls. Plus, the way he portrayed his situation, didn't seem like he wanted to be friends with her very much (but maybe he was just sugar coating it for me back then, so I wouldn't scare off). To be quite honest, I don't think he WANTS to be friends with her...I just think he doesn't exactly push her away either, because he wants to maintain the peace and not have any problems. He's told me "I don't MIND her...I don't like her, but I don't NOT like her...I just don't care". But I do! And by not expressing that it is not acceptable anymore, she has no reason to change her constant communication with him.

Now that I'm here and emotionally involved, I just feel that there has got to be SOME way to work this out...between us, or in my head (so I don't feel so uncomfortable and am in a better place to accept it). It doesn't seem like a "deal breaker" problem to me (especially with all the GOOD things we have going for us), just a constant annoyance that I'd like to learn how to handle.

Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 4:24pm
Well, my experience has been that some people make better friends than romantic partners, so I don't have a problem being friends with some (not all) exes and having my SOs be friends with theirs (and I'm actually a bit leery if someone I'm thinking of dating is NOT friends with any exes!). I'm good friends with my ex-husband because we truly care about each other, we're just not in love with each other any more and that's why our marriage ended (we were more roommates/good friends than lovers towards the end).

But, in your case, it does seem like he doesn't really WANT to be friends with her. Rather, it's just too much work for him to define and enforce his boundaries. You've made it clear that even if he doesn't care, you do, but that doesn't matter to him...he doesn't want to make waves. I just don't see why you are expecting him to change, given how long this has gone on.

As for accepting it, you either do or you don't. You don't have to *like* something in order to accept it, you just have to make a decision and stick to it.

Sheri



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